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Celtic 0-3 Real Madrid: Match Review

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With four wins in as many league games, Real Madrid’s season was off to the perfect start ahead of the Champions League opener.

Los Blancos were pitted against Celtic in their first game of the new competition, with the game scheduled to take place in Glasgow.

Postecoglou’s side were one of the most in-form sides in Europe ahead of the midweek game. They won their last match by a margin of four goals and scored a whopping 13 goals in their last two games. Moreover, they were unbeaten across all competitions for close to five months.

On the night, Ancelotti made two changes to the side that started against Real Betis. Federico Valverde replaced Rodrygo Goes on the right wing, while Toni Kroos came in for Eduardo Camavinga.

Celtic have been known for their attacking aptitude this season and did not hold back when given a chance against the Champions of Europe. In the very first minute, Giakoumakis worked the ball to Abada whose shot was painfully close to goal.

The pressure on Real Madrid’s goal intensified in the next 20 minutes with the hosts putting in a spectacular shift. Abada was once again at the centre of action in the 13th minute when he missed the chance to bury Jota’s cross.

One of the biggest chances in the first half came in minute 21. The move began with Giakoumakis finding McGregor at the edge of the area with a well-worked pass. The midfielder struck the ball firmly, but could only rattle the woodwork.

Problems for Real Madrid compounded at the half-hour mark when Karim Benzema was forced off the field through injury. The Frenchman could not continue after sustaining a blow on his knee and Eden Hazard took his place.

It was only in the latter part of the second half that Real Madrid took charge of the game. Eden Hazard had a chance in the 41st minute and Vinicius Jr failed to score a 1v1 just minutes later. As half-time neared, the momentum slowly but surely shifted.

Antonio Rudiger replaced Eder Militao for the second half. The new period began in a similar fashion for Real Madrid as they immediately fell under pressure, giving Maeda an opening to score. However, the forward’s shot was tame.

Los Blancos found some rhythm by the 50-minute mark and a goal was not too far away. As the clock struck 56, Vinicius Jr completed a lethal counter-attack to give Real Madrid the lead. The goal was only made possible because of Federico Valverde’s blistering run and a perfect pass at the feet of the Brazilian sensation who did not miss.

Less than five minutes later, their lead doubled. After receiving a loose ball in the box, the club legend cut back to create space for himself. With the goal at his mercy, he calmly fired it into the back of the net with the outside of his boot.

The final nail in the coffin for Celtic, it seems, was Eden Hazard’s goal in minute 77. Toni Kroos began the attack with a precise aerial pass to Daniel Carvajal. The full-back cushioned the ball and put it across the face of the goal for Hazard to tap in.

The 15 minutes that followed saw Celtic push for a consolation goal, but Los Blancos’ compact lines and organised defence handled the situation.

With this win, the men in white get their UCL campaign off to a perfect start despite not putting up their best performance. They next take on Mallorca at the Santiago Bernabeu at the weekend.

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Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona

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Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

Real Madrid return to the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday night for the first time since booking a place in the semifinal of the UEFA Champions League.

Having dethroned the reigning UCL champions midweek, they will look to do the same to the reigning Spanish champions at the weekend as they take on Barcelona in La Liga.

The Catalans have been on a mini resurgence in recent weeks, but their momentum and morale was crushed midweek with a defeat to PSG in the second leg of the UCL quarterfinal.

Real Madrid have got the better of the Blaugranas twice this season already, and appear to have the advantage over them for the third time ahead of Sunday’s clash. A win on the night would have massive implications.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Barcelona.

Riding the high

Manchester City may have embarrassed Real Madrid by a 4-0 scoreline at the Etihad one year ago. Earlier this week, however, Los Blancos exacted their revenge at the same venue.

Pep Guardiola’s side may have been the more dominant team on the night with the better chances. On a scale of who deserved to go through for attacking football, the Premier League giants indeed would have made the cut.

Yet, Real Madrid held on through the storm and pulled through an extra 30 minutes to take the game to a penalty shootout. The masters of nerves kept their cool through the tense shootout and pulled through in clutch Real Madrid style.

Ancelotti must play his cards right (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

They now enter El Clasico riding on the wave of momentum that has been going their way all season, and they must look to capitalise on the psychological edge they boast on the psychological front.

After all, Barcelona are coming off a tough defeat which sealed their elimination from Europe and are far from their best state from a psychological standpoint. A mentally weakened opposition is, after all, half conquered.

The final rung

El Clasico has lost its charm in recent years and is overtaken by several other fascinating fixtures across the globe as football’s elite clash.

While a part of the decline is due to the departure of big names from both teams, Barcelona’s overall fall in quality has an equal role to play in the same.

While the game may not have the same global appeal it did a few years ago, however, El Clasico seldom arrives without any reward on the line. This time, it brings with it a real chance for Carlo Ancelotti’s side to celebrate a massive success.

With seven games to go in La Liga, Los Blancos sit comfortably on 78 points while second-placed Barcelona are on 70 points. A win tomorrow will widen the gap to 11 points, and virtually seal La Liga in Real Madrid’s name.

After all, it is almost unthinkable that the men in white will lose four of their next six games after the Clasico. Tomorrow’s game, thus, brings with it the ultimate prize.

Carlo Ancelotti’s focus against Barcelona, thus, will be to ensure that his side do not slacken out and that they bring home all three points the easy way. After all, a defeat at the Bernabeu will cut their lead to five points and set up for a nervy finish.

The right rotations

Having just played a tiring 120-minute shift against Manchester City on Wednesday night, it is but natural for Los Blancos to feel fatigued.

Checking on players’ fitness and opting for the right rotations, albeit without impacting the quality on the field, thus will be Ancelotti’s greatest challenge ahead of the showdown against Barcelona.

For starters, Toni Kroos is expected to be replaced by Luka Modric in midfield on the night after playing a long shift midweek. The Croatian showed against Manchester City that he still has magic in his boots, and a start against Barcelona would not be undeserved.

The second likely change in midfield will be the return of Aurelien Tchouameni, who was suspended midweek. The Frenchman is expected to take the place of his teammate Eduardo Camavinga at the base of midfield.

Moving to the final third, the player in question for the game is Vinicius Jr, especially considering that he was facing muscular discomfort after the game in England.

He has been included in the squad to face Barcelona, but it is critical that Ancelotti evaluates his fitness before handing him the start.

If indeed the Brazilian is not fit to play from the first minute, Rodrygo will take his place on the left wing with Joselu covering the second spot in attack.

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